Saturday, February 20, 2010

En Barranquilla se baila así

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Barranquilla has one of the biggest carnavals in South America. After returning from Christmas break there was a week or so of regular class before everything revolved around Carnaval. The school put on its own mini-carnaval with all classes participating from 2nd grade to seniors. As you might imagine it was a huge deal. First each class had to choose a king and queen to represent the class, lead the class dance or comparsa, and perform for several viernes de la reina. However, it falls to the mother of the class queen to organize costumes, pictures, posters, class practices and hire a choreographer. It's a big responsibility! Lucky for me, the queen of 5A is a great student with very supportive and involved parents.

Carnavals showed off the students and school at its best. Amazing presentations, dances and costumes. I felt very privaleged to be a part of the experience... or at least watch it. Since my camera was stolen, here are some pictures taken by Jill:

Banner celebrating the 3 cultures of the Caribbean: Native American, Spanish and African.

Everyone was in costumes, and many classes had signs to support their class King and Queen.

Fifth grade comparsa. They were fantastic!

Fourth Graders dancing Cumbia.

Second graders dancing a garabato dance. I don't remember the whole story, but the black, red, yellow and green costumes go with it, and death makes an appearance.


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Finally, the biggest event in Barranquilla! A chance to see beautiful costumes, amazing dances and take lots of pictures!

Sad news. My camera was stolen while I was at Carnavals. I am still sad about it. Not so much the actual camera, but the fact that I lost all of the pictures that I took at the school carnaval, and I didn't even get to take any at the real carnaval. The pictures I would have been the most excited to take and the most excited to share, were not to be. The pictures here were taken by Jill, a Canadian teacher visiting Barranquilla for a few weeks. While I am definately glad to have these pictures (thanks Jill!), it just isn't the same as having your own. Especially the ones that I took of my students. I had some great pics of students getting ready and hanging out in their costumes in the classroom. I even had them all sit in their desks in their costumes because they were so cute like that!

I had been warned before Carnaval to be very careful with my stuff, and not to put anything in a pocket because it would get stolen. Also, there was this spray foam stuff and I was warned that some people would spray it in people's faces and then steal their stuff. So, I thought I was being as careful as I could be when I chose a small purse that zipped up and didn't bring my wallet. However, I got foamed. I didn't even realize they were targetting me because they sprayed a whole crowd of people. Everyone was pushing and I didn't notice anything (and I was trying to wipe the foam off my eyes) until things calmed down slightly and I realized my purse was unzipped. No more camera. :(

Carnaval was pretty spectacular with all the different costumes and dances. My co-worker and friend Tania took us around and explained the costumes and everything. Tania and her friend Roberto even told my sob story about the camera and got us into better seats. Unfortunately, when I look back at Carnaval, I am left with the sinking feeling that it was not a safe place to be.

Tania and Roberto, our guides to Carnaval.

I love these costumes. They are coyongos, a type of bird that was a symbol of this years carnaval.

The Marimonda is one of the main carnaval costumes of Barranquilla. Sometimes even the vehicles dress up!

Guiselle, the P.E. teacher performing Cumbia... while balancing an aguila on her head!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An afternoon stroll

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Today I remembered to bring my camara with me on my walk. The neighborhood I live in is called Miramar and you can actually see the Caribbean on clear days. It's a very new neighborhood with lots of construction of big, tall apartment buildings. And these buildings are literally on the edge of the city.


The view the other direction... soon to be filled with more apartment buildings.

I think they burned the areas around the sidewalks on purpose... the other times I walked down here the plants were overtaking the sidewalk. It is the tropics afterall. It's really funny to walk around here because there are streets and sidewalks, but just trees and plants inbetween. It's kinda nice.

This tree was cool- it had very big leaves and flowers.

Cuidado! Don't fall in!

Check out this funky plant.

The outer edge of Barranquilla... and a road still being constructed.

Ah.. pretty sunset. It's interesting to see when the plants here flower and go to seed... with the whole no seasons thing, it always seems unexpected.

No, it's not tangled wire on that pole- it's a plant. It is the tropics!